Farewell to the Standard

I join John and Scott in mourning the closure of the Weekly Standard. Yes, there are other  excellent conservative magazines, but the Standard was, as the name obviously conveys, about the only weekly. And frequency matters. It’s putative replacement, the expanded Washington Examiner magazine (for which I have also written) will probably be more DC-focused, and likely won’t have any of the great cultural feature writing and book reviews that the Standard had.

I get it that a lot of our readers didn’t like the Standard for its resolute anti-Trump position. They would have been better served had they emulated the Wall Street Journal editorial page, which I think has found the sweet spot of praising and defending Trump when he deserves it, and criticizing him for his manifest defects—sometimes in the same editorial or op-ed column. And let us be fair to the Standard: they did publish, shortly before the 2016 election, my long article explaining why Trump made sense for conservative intellectuals (“Crisis of the Conservative House Divided“), about which I still get favorable comments from people two years later. I know Bill Kristol didn’t agree with the piece, but he printed it anyway in the spirit of ecumenism that was a hallmark of the magazine.

The Standard was a wonderful outlet for pieces like this, and a number of other speculative and heterodox articles I did from time to time that only the Standard would want to publish. I had six cover stories that I can find (below)—I think there might have been one or two more that I have missed—and I also had what they call “The Slash” (the small angular banner in the upper left corner of the cover) several more times. My all time favorite was the climate change cover with the shivering Al Gore, which Sen. James Inhofe blew up to poster size and presented one day on the Senate floor.

It has also been fun to note the number of times people have confused me and Steve Hayes. Happens to both of us. I get mash notes from readers—”Loved your climate change article, and my wife really loves you because she says you’re the cute one on ‘Special Report.’ on Fox” We even get each other’s emails from time to time. One day, Steve Hayes got an email that said, “I’m running late—can you pick up the kids from school?” To which Steve Hayes replied to my spouse, “Happy to, but maybe you want to check with your husband first?” Steve, by the way, used to say in public that he was flattered to be confused with me, because he wished he could write things as smart as me. Our scheme to co-author a piece together just to see how the joint byline would blow peoples’ minds will have to happen somewhere else now.

Although I also write for National Review and others, the Standard was like my favorite bar when I’m not drinking at the Power Line Pub, and I’m not sure right now just where (aside from here on Power Line of course) I’m going to go with my long form articles.


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